Who’s to Bless and Who’s to Blame?

 Broken rules are all the same
To the broken or the breaker
Who’s to bless, and who’s to blame

Kris Kristofferson

I always understood the song to be about who gets the blessing and who gets the blaming, but recently, I’ve begun to understand the lyrics as being who is doling out the blessing and the blame when faced with sorting out who the rule breaker is and who was broken by the break in the rules.

Who gets to decide who is blessed and who is blamed?

Certainly the person breaking rules and causing harm has taken it upon themselves to blame the broken and taken the blessing or permission to do so upon themselves.

So the broken has the choice of being broken and ground down, or to demand a blessing and that the broken rule be mended and the breaker taken to task, and attain a blessing – a corrective action – while shifting blame to it’s more proper bearer – the breaker.

In that sense, each of us the blesser/blamer and the question becomes one of which role we assign or impose upon other people – do we blame them or bless them? Can we find a way to not break rules and work within them so no one has to be blamed or blessed?

Or is it in the breaking or challenging of rules that blessing can occur, to take authority, entitlement and privilege upon ourselves, right or wrong? And thus be blessed or blamed depending on the outcome of our rule breaking, rule making or outright  rule?

If winners write history, then who is blessed is clearly those who seek to rule, if they are successful – and blamed if they are not.

In many ways it comes back to self-esteem, confidence and worst of all certainty of purpose and meaning – as uncomfortable as the idea of breaking someone else to your will, it seems preferable to be the breaker than the one broken.

Unless you cannot be so sure, so certain, then the idea of responsibility for breaking people is totally abhorrent, in which case, being broken is little different than normal conformity, inauthentic and unexamined.

Living inauthentic and unexamined lives is the ignorance that is bliss – and being broken is to live in full awareness, conscious of the break, the injustice, the imposition. But to be broken does not mean defeated, it does not mean without resources or resilience, broken is the incentive to stand and correct the problem – there is strength in being broken, only when you are broken can you understand your values and meaning and become renewed, phoenix-like – stronger than before – to become the breaker of the status quo and remake the rules – to fight for a new and better day.

The Pope and Hippies

The Catholic Church has recently blamed the 1960’s counterculture of American hippies for the child molesting sex scandals plaguing the church.

For once, I agree with them – but only to the limited extent – not their fantasy that the so called free love movement created a culture of permissiveness that encouraged celibate priests to molest children – that the 1960’s counterculture that stood up to authority to say that the individual mattered and deserved dignity of person and personal sovereignty that created the cultural climate that so many of the victims from decades before the 1960’s and in countries all over the world have been able to come forward and tell their stories of systemically sanctioned abuse and gross negligence in protecting the abusers by moving them from one community to another – often promoting the worst offenders so they could protect the next generation of molesters.

That the Catholic Church should try to blame American hippies for their priest’s molestation and their bishop’s protecting the priests and silencing the witnesses, victims and their families is beyond the credible.

American hippies do not explain why the sex scandals are breaking in every single country that the Catholic Church operates in, and in dates before and since the 1960’s. It doesn’t explain the church’s failure to defrock even repeat offenders spanning several communities.

This blaming the hippies and the counterculture only makes sense when you consider that the bully always blames the victim for reporting the crimes that the victim somehow forced the bully to perform.

And our tendency to blame the messenger compounds the problem – as if the acknowledgement of the problem is somehow worse than the problem and as if reporting is on par with perpetrating.

It is not the victim’s fault they were abused by people who they trusted to protect and guide them. The problem is not that the crimes are reported, but that they occurred at all.

This is a huge difficulty for an organization who’s purpose is to deal with immoral actions after the fact and to forgive for a fee; rather than be a system by which people can avoid undertaking immoral actions. If religion could do that, religion would literally be out of business.

If people could understand and make moral distinctions and then undertake morally correct or the lesser of evils actions – then what need would they have of the priest?

But, what need do we have of priests who clearly are not capable of moral action even when they have removed themselves from the ordinary lives that are fraught with temptation. Priests who are allegedly dedicated to poverty, charity and chastity?

The highest authority of the Catholic Church live in a castle, surrounded by material and historical wealth and don ornate costumes while the countries with the highest ratio of Catholics more often than not are existing in abject poverty. Where is this charity? Why do they not redistribute some of that wealth to help the poor followers?

What need does anyone have of priests who harm children or the bishops who protect said priests – and likely were these same pedo-priests in the past?

How can anything as abusive and corrupt, in blatant defiance of the values it claims to hold dear, continue to retain followers who turn over a sizable chunk of their hard earn money, and worse, their children, over to this beast that consumes with an entitlement that is difficult to comprehend?

On nothing more than the basis of allowing them to take the fruits of your labour and your loins and you will be rewarded after you die, because that’s god’s will and the Pope is representing on earth.

Because hey, the pope is always a trustworthy guy, no matter the scheming and maneuvering and double dealing it takes to get into the big chair and the bulletproof popemobile. The ultimate demonstration of lack of faith that ever was.